Barnes & Noble Feels Double-Digit Burn From SEC Probe

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Barnes and Noble

The numbers involved in the SEC probe of Barnes & Noble (NYSE:BKS) aren’t overwhelming, yet company stock took a 12-percent hit before the close of Friday’s trading in New York. The two allegations B&N disclosed were the target of SEC investigators involving minor overestimated losses from 2011 and 2012, plus the accusation the bookseller shifted expenses during accounting of its Nook costs, according to a report by NBC News.

At a glance, the charges don’t seem to be the stuff sell-offs are made on. The Wall Street Journal reports losses of $4.1 million were overstated for the 2012 fiscal year, while the fiscal 2011 losses overstated $5.1 million were the figures in question, both of which Barnes & Noble disclosed it was adjusting in July 2013. The allegations about shifting expenses with respect to Nook devices came from a non-executive employee, several media outlets reported.

Barnes & Noble officials said they were cooperating with the investigation once the news went public late Thursday. A B&N rep emailed Reuters saying the company couldn’t comment on the reason behind the investigation of its revised financial statements. Wall Street had already decided.

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